Saving water, planting trees and supporting electric vehicles are just some of the sustainable practices we’re honoring this year as we recognize seven local businesses and nonprofit organizations with 2022 Go Green Awards.

The awards are given annually to highlight meaningful work that protects our environment, preserves natural resources and advances sustainability.

“Our award recipients are being recognized for their exemplary leadership in modeling sustainable practices,” said Erik Bakken, Vice President of Energy Resources. “Sustainability is one of the core values at TEP, whether it’s expanding our use of renewable energy, helping our customers make wise choices around energy usage or volunteering at local events to help our neighbors. We congratulate these organizations that demonstrate their own commitment every day to doing a better job for the planet.”

This year’s award recipients include:

Community Impact Partner Award – Tucson Clean & Beautiful Inc.

Trees mitigate the effects of climate change. They clean the air we breathe, they provide respite from the blistering desert sun and their calming beauty improves quality of life. Tucson Clean & Beautiful, which has been supporting low-cost shade trees in homes and neighborhoods since 1985, has been critical in helping our community address the urban heat island effect. The nonprofit counts more than 160,000 trees to its credit, providing $16 million in energy savings and extracting more than 200 million pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. TEP is a longtime partner, contributing $100,000 to the organization last year in support of Mayor Regina Romero’s Tucson Million Trees campaign, which aims to plant 1 million trees by 2030.

Collaborative Partner Award – Tucson Premium Outlets

With consumers making sustainability-focused choices on where to spend their dollars, preserving the environment is an important effort that also makes good business sense. Tucson Premium Outlets is working toward ambitious water consumption reduction goals to complement a demonstrated commitment to recycling. It’s also in the midst of retrofitting more than 400 lighting fixtures with LED technology, which will save on energy costs over time, supporting its bottom line while reducing its carbon footprint. The Outlets also embraced EV charging by installing 10 dual-port EV charging stations, adding convenience for customers driving zero-emission electric vehicles.

Conservation Partner Award – City of Tucson Parks & Recreation

Water can’t be wasted in the desert. As part of its work to support healthy communities through environmental stewardship, the City of Tucson Parks & Recreation department recently tapped into available rebates to upgrade the irrigation booster pumps that feed the ponds, streams ad waterfalls at Reid Park. Unlike older pumps, which only have an on or off function, next generation pumps offer variable speeds and timing, helping the city save water and electricity. Rebate savings are being leveraged to replace older pumps at other parks across the city. The Parks department’s effort reflects the city’s overarching commitment to decarbonization, from reducing waste to electrifying transit, planting trees and capturing stormwater.

Eco-friendly Partner Award – Milagro Cohousing Community

Thoughtful design helps this 28-home sustainability-focused cohousing community save precious resources. Passive solar, rainwater cisterns and a water conservation system that includes wastewater treatment and recycling are just some of the features it uses to protect the environment. Supporting zero-emission electric vehicles were the natural next step. With the support of TEP’s Smart Charging Program, which helped offset the cost of three dual-port level 2 chargers, the community was able to help its residents have easy access to charging while reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Educational Partner Award – Sahuarita Unified School District

If students are to build the kind of future we want, adults have to model an environmental ethic for them. Often, that starts in school. The Sahuarita Unified School District has worked over the past decade to install solar systems, update its heating and cooling and invest in energy efficient lighting. Most recently, the district applied a rebate from TEP to equip three schools with a new energy management system designed to help control heating and cooling costs. In all, the district expects to save more than $1 million in electricity costs annually, helping the environment while providing strong stewardship of the dollars entrusted to them by community members.

Efficient Partner Award – Raytheon Technologies

Fortune 500 companies are successful because they build strategic roadmaps that define targets on their way to their goals. Decarbonizing takes the same kind of efficient approach. Raytheon, Tucson’s largest employer, has systematically implemented emission reduction initiatives through eight energy efficiency projects, offset by tens of thousands of dollars in rebates, in 2021 and 2022. Along with more efficient lighting projects, the company recently replaced 40-year-old chillers with modern equipment. Long-term energy savings and environmental benefits are the result of these energy efficiency improvements.

Sustainable Partner Award – YWCA Southern Arizona

Sustainability isn’t merely about promoting a clean environment. It’s also about supporting healthy, safe and equitable communities. YWCA Southern Arizona is a champion of that broader view. After launching its YClimateAction women’s leadership event to work toward a cleaner environmental future, the organization recently completed energy and water audits of its properties and is currently exploring ways to improve efficiencies. Committed to eliminating racism, empowering women and supporting underserved communities, the YWCA also recently joined the Tucson 2030 District to help spread the word to Tucson businesses, organizations and residents about energy efficiency, water conservation and reducing transportation emissions.

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